Cuirassed torso

Imperial Period
late 1st century A.D.

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Lazio (probably)

Catalogue Raisonné

Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 078-079; Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 347; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 115 (additional published references).


Overall: 111.8 x 63.5 x 47 cm, 357.43 kg (44 x 25 x 18 1/2 in., 788 lb.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble, from Mt. Pentelikon near Athens

Not On View


The Ancient World



This statue probably depicted an emperor, possibly Domitian (A.D. 81–96). The torso shows a man wearing a breastplate decorated with a palladion flanked by victories, a symbol of Minerva (Athena) and of military success. Domitian is known to have adopted Minerva as his patron deity, and the prominent presence of symbols of Minerva supports a reconstruction of the statue as Domitian.

The statue stood with the weight on the left leg; the right arm was raised, probably holding a spear or scepter-staff; the left was lowered to hold a parazonium or sheathed short sword against the upper arm. The costume consists of a short tunic, visible on the left upper arm, a metal cuirass with a leather lining ending in fringed straps at the armholes and below, and a paludamentum or military cloak on the left shoulder, down the back, and once over the left forearm.

The lower surfaces of the straps have been damaged and partly reworked, and perhaps the torso was reused as building material. The head, neck, and right arm were made separately. The left arm is missing from just below the shoulder, together with most of the mantle. A large piece of marble has split off from the back on the left side. In the back, just below the neck, is a large, rectangular hole. The edges of some of the semi-circular plates have been damaged; a number of the straps are broken; the face of the Palladion is worn away; and the fastening of the shoulder strap has been injured. The surfaces are very fresh, with an attractive yellow patina.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 8425: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.0 / delta18O -5.2,

Attribution - Mt. Pentelikon. Justification - C and O isotopes, fine grain, parallel flaws (foliation)


By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Florence of Bardini who said however he had it from Tavazzi in Rome.); 1899: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 32,500.00 (this is the total price for MFA 99.338-99.542)

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund